An interesting discovery in Israel:
Archaeologists recently discovered a synagogue from the Second Temple era at the construction site of a hotel along the Migdal coast, a few miles north of Tiberias. At the center of the synagogue is a stone inscribed with a seven-branch menorah.
…The Archaeological Authority’s director of the excavation called the finds “exciting and unique.” Dina Avshalom-Gorni said, “This is the first time in which a description of the menorah was discovered from the days that the Temple still stood. This is the first menorah discovered in a Jewish context, dated to the Second Temple era (the beginning of the Roman era). One could suppose that the inscription that appears on the stone that the Archaeological Authority discovered was made by an artisan that saw the seven-branched menorah at the Temple in Jerusalem with his own eyes.” She added that the synagogue joins the ranks of only six other synagogues in the world known to exist from the Second Temple era.
Synagogues from around the time of Jesus appear to not be as common as those from later centuries. Some suggest this is due to the Temple’s existence as a central place of worship. After the Temple’s destruction in A.D. 70, synagogues may have proliferated as the only central places for Jews to worship.
There is another ancient synagogue in nearby Capernaum. It dates a few centuries later than this one, but is likely the same location of the 1st century synagogue that Jesus knew. You can read my earlier post about the Capernaum synagogue (with photos).
The Bible records how Jesus taught in synagogues such as the one in Capernaum. He would have passed by Magdala in his journeys along the western coast of Galilee. Although he is not recorded as entering the synagogue in Magdala, there is a probability He would have used it.